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Advancing Our Safe Energy Future

Advancing Our Safe Energy Future

Artistic image showing stacked yellow natural gas pipes, front-view showing black view of inside pipesApril 18, 2024

At Washington Gas, safety is a non-negotiable core value. We are focused on today’s safety considerations while building a lower-carbon energy future. As part of this commitment, we’re pursuing a thoughtful, risk-based approach to pipeline replacements throughout the DMV. Our work enhances safety, reliability and affordability while helping lower emissions.

“We’re making a strategic investment of $1.7 billion over the next five years in pipeline modernization,” said Blue Jenkins, President of Washington Gas. “We’ve coupled this with our industry’s $125 million commitment to advance lower- and zero-carbon technologies. It’s a powerful strategy that simultaneously addresses multiple goals to strengthen our energy future.”

As we amplify safety and reliability through infrastructure modernization and replacement, we are addressing leaks and fugitive methane emissions. Upgrading our network includes replacing cast iron and unprotected steel pipe with new medium and high-density polyethylene pipe, which is not subject to the threat of corrosion.

Our long-term goal is to maintain the safety of our pipeline systems as part of a commitment to reliably serving our customers now and far into the future. For example, Washington, D.C. alone depends on 400 miles of cast iron—or one-third of its mains—to meet its energy needs. This infrastructure will need to be replaced in the coming years.

Chart shows 2023 updates for Washington Gas Accelerated Pipe Replacement Programs.We operate three large-scale accelerated pipe replacement programs throughout our region. These long-term initiatives logged noteworthy results in 2023 alone, with a cumulative reduction of 358,602 metric tons of greenhouse gas equivalents as of the end of 2023.

District of Columbia  |  PROJECTpipes (started June 2014)
2023 GHG equivalent reduction: 1,326 metric tons
2023 automobiles equivalent reduction: 283
2023 miles of pipe retired: 5.31

Maryland  |  Strategic Infrastructure  Development and Enhancement Plan STRIDE (started January 2014)
2023 GHG equivalent reduction: 2,149 metric tons
2023 automobiles equivalent reduction: 459
2023 miles of pipe retired: 12.40

Virginia  |  Steps to Advance Virginia’s Energy Program SAVE (started January 2010)
2023 GHG equivalent reduction: 2,857 metric tons
2023 automobiles equivalent reduction: 611
2023 miles of pipe retired: 21.87

Be sure to read “Why STRIDE matters for securing Maryland’s energy future.” The article explores the importance of maintaining safety and reliability for existing natural gas infrastructure while simultaneously supporting climate goals.

Focusing on pipeline updates is also a core part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan (December 2023). It aims to reduce emissions from covered pipelines by up to 55%, potentially eliminating up to one million metric tons of methane emissions in 2030 alone—the equivalent of 25 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. The White House estimates this initiative could create up to $2.3 billion in annual benefits.

Other research also confirms the high practicality and value of pipe replacement programs. For example, the United States Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration states that such programs “enhance safety and reliability, contribute to cost savings over the longer-term, and [are] less disruptive to customers and communities than a reactive approach.” 

Enter the Energy Trilemma

You might have heard more recently about the term energy trilemma. Coined by the World Energy Council in 2010, it refers to our energy future’s three simultaneous and sometimes competing goals. 

Affordability ensures everyone can access the energy they need and deserve. Reliability focuses on a steady, dependable energy supply for comfortable homes and uninterrupted industry. Climate goals support developing technologies that include lower-carbon energy sources.

At Washington Gas, our pipeline replacement commitment is just one of our strategies to help balance the energy trilemma. The American Gas Association estimates that in the past decade alone, natural gas helped families save $125 billion while trimming more than $500 billion from commercial and industrial costs. Currently 3.3 times more affordable than electricity, the price for natural gas is also projected to be 30-50% less than the price of other fuels through 2050.

Pipeline replacement- bolsters our nation‘s ability to integrate high-value energy sources, such as renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG is carbon-neutral, versatile and fully compatible with the U.S. pipeline system, potentially supporting lower-carbon energy solutions for homes, businesses and heavy industries.

Upgrading our nation’s pipeline network has already contributed significantly to a declining emissions trend. Since 1990, the miles of modern-material natural gas main have more than tripled, and emissions from the natural gas distribution system have declined by 70%.

Washington Gas is proud to focus on safely meeting today’s global, national, local and personal energy needs while working to resolve tomorrow’s challenges. Please visit washingtongas.com to explore our energy future.


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